The Malaysia Government is now focusing on boosting internet speed as 80% of the population now has access to broadband, according to media report.
Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Keruak said it had been focusing all this while on providing internet to the majority of the population, even though at lower speeds.
“Now that almost 80% of our population can access broadband, we can focus more on boosting speeds to achieve the 11th Malaysia Plan targets of 100 Mbps in urban areas and 20 Mbps in rural areas.
“The average speed in Malaysia today allows for online commerce. In fact, the internet growth is evident from the usage of Zalora, Fashion Valet and Lazada,” he told FMT.
In 2015, the Minister came under fire from several politicians for claiming that Malaysians preferred slower broadband speeds. Salleh had said 71% of Malaysians preferred the slower broadband packages, like that offered by Streamyx with speeds of between 384 Kbps and 1 Mbps. They chose to pay less for slower internet speeds instead of spending more on fast connections, he said.
At the time, MCMC also said: “While there are many high speed broadband packages available currently, subscribers still appear to prefer lower speed packages. Based on the subscriber demographics as at August 2015 for the main fixed broadband service provider, 71% of Streamyx customers subscribe to broadband packages at speeds of 1Mbps or less.”
“There could be many reasons for this, and it is not necessarily an indication that Malaysians prefer slow broadband. The lack of compelling content and online applications may be a contributing factor. It is therefore also equally important to ensure widespread availability of digital services in various areas such as education, health and online payment platforms to drive demand for high speed broadband. With more demand, service providers will have commercial reasons to improve their infrastructure and lower their prices.”
Salleh’s comments drew criticism from former international trade and industry minister Rafidah Aziz and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang. Later in 2016, Salleh said Malaysia’s priority was to ensure the people had access to internet, not how fast it is.